The 25.th, the day on which, according tradition, the gannets return to Mykines, 9 of the 13 persons, who were on Mykines on that day, were on á Rogve, to greet the gannets welcome back. The weather was fine, a little breeze from south east, sunny in the morning, overcast in the afternoon. Several gannets were seen and even one sat on one of the shelves below Klettur, which is quite unusual that early.|
Den 25.th, Christmas day, one more gale hit the Faroes. There was some damage around the islands. The wind blow from south west to west but no damage was noted on Mykines, as this direction is one of the "best", when there is as much wind, as there was.
November 2011. The 24.th the Faroe Islands were hit by a violent hurricane. It began to blow in the afternoon, increase during the evening and around midnight, the wind was at its maximum. At many places wind speed of 40 m/s were measured and above 50 m/s in the gusts. There was extensive damage around the Faroe Islands. Roofs were torn off houses, ships broke their moorings and ran aground, containers were overturned and several radio masts had to bite the grass. Insurers received the day after the hurricane in thousands of claims. But how strange it may sound, nothing dramatic happened on Mykines. There was cleaned up prior to the hurricane and the wind direction was the best, from the south turning to the west.
August 2011. No herring carriers and still no other signs of puffin chicks, so it must be concluded that the breeding season of 2011 for puffins have been a total failure like the year 2010 was. Similar reports from other Faroese islands with puffins.
The 4.th there were only three guillemot youngs left in Myrkhellu, after some days where more youngs had the courage to the big leap over the edge. 2011 was thus better for the guillemots than last year, although the number of pups was modest.
The 5.th the last young kittiwake disappeared from its nest at the landing place and it had not flown by itself as it was not ripe. There came no youngs on to their wings from this area, where this year there were about 300 nests. The impression was the same from other kittiwake nesting sites, where there were few youngs, who seemed to be in such good condition, that they would come on their wings. There were only few who were practicing wing beats.
The gannets seem to continue to do well and the 31.th about 40 men were after the gray gannets and the catch was approximately 500.
July 2011. The puffins continue their very abnormal behavior. Some days almost no birds, either on land or at the sea under the puffin lands. Other days quite nicely with puffins. Some days only on the water but other days both on the sea and in the puffin lands. During a passage of Lamba the 13.th, there were heard and seen many puffins but only in one part of the area and although puffins were in their holes, there was no sign, that the holes were often visited. There has not been seen any puffin with herring and there are no chicks chirping. So there is no evidence that they have been breeding at all. The condition appears to be the same on the other Faroese islands with puffin lands.
On the 12.th and some days thereafter, a rose-coloured starling was seen in the infield.
June 2011. Continued with very irregular presence of puffins in the puffin lands. Thus, on the 8.th there was only seen 3 puffins during a trip through the large puffin land Lamba. There has not reliably been seen any nesting terns, either on the Holm or in the outfield.
May 2011. Puffins very irregularly present in the puffin lands and no sure signs of breeding puffins. Kittiwakes were seen in large numbers at their traditional places.
April 2011. In the middle of the month there were puffins on the water below the puffin lands but not in any larger quantity. The 27.th, the traditional date of the land taking of the puffin, there was only modestly with birds, but already the 28.th, were many puffins, which flew in rings and landed in the puffin lands, a nice "land koma," as it is called in Faroese.
February 2011. It could be interpreted as the gannets were not taken amiss the disappointing reception they had received in January, and they could be seen in at least the same numbers they have been in the past years Gannets looks increasingly likely to do well, despite the poor breeding success, which among others, the puffins have had in recent years.
January 2011. The 25.th, the traditional date of the gannets return to Mykines, there was, due to various circumstances, only five people on Mykines. And only one of them was out on á Rogve, to greet the gannets. The weather was quite nice and was seen more gannets.
The night between the first and second men were on the high shelves on the north side of Holm after gray gannets.
And the catch was fine, 435 pieces.
August 2010. No encouraging news about the birds. No puffin chicks, no guillemot chicks, no arctic tern chicks, no arctic skua chicks, however, some fulmar chicks.
The gannets still seem to manage fine.
The 28.th men were on Flattidrangur after gray gannets and the catch was fine.
July 2010. As July progressed, it became increasingly obvious that there is something very wrong with the puffins this year. There has still not been seen a single herring carrier and the puffins presence at and in the puffin lands has been very irregular. Some days there have been many puffins on the sea outside the puffin lands, other days hardly any and even the days, where there have been many on the water, they never come up in the puffin lands in any number that come close a good and normal year. Puffins have not flown into the familiar ring that has made catching possible and there have not been caught more than 25 puffins. Most fleyge men have not even tried to go to fleyge, in recognition of the abnormal situation and many believe that one should totally refrain from even attempting the catch. Even more surprising is, that there in the end of the month were found fresh eggs. At a time, when the puffins should have nearly fledged young! Maybe a last desperate attempt to breed.
But not only puffins have a strange breeding season.
Guillemots, who last June appeared to be in ample quantity, does not seem to have had pups this year. At the end of the month, where the the youngs should be ready for a leap into the big world, there was not a sure sign of youngs at all, because one could not hear the characteristic and penetrating call of the youngs. Within a few days the largest guillemot shelf at Mykines, that in Myrkhellu, was completely deserted. So there has hardly been a single young. The last day of the month, you could still hear adult guillemots around the shores and see individual guillemots Uti á Bølið, but not hear the voice of a single young.
The kittiwakes have no great success, but at the end of the month, there are youngs in about one-seventh of the nests, where there were eggs or youngs in the beginning of the month. Hardly all of the remaining youngs will succeed in being fully fledged, but there have been seen some flying youngs.
The gannets continues seem to thrive, with many pups, although they seem to be a little late on it.
There is no evidence of breeding arctic terns.
There are few arctic skuas in the outfield, but they have not had neither puffins or Arctic Tern to hunt, to get them to release their catches.
June 2010. The situation for the puffins is very worrying because there is virtually none to see. There has not in living memory been a state that resembles the current one. It is very doubtful whether there are puffins, which have laid eggs and few puffins are seen at all. "Normally", there may be between 15,000 and 20,000 puffins on the water just outside the puffins lands Dal and Lamba, who then in the afternoon and evening coming up and fly in circles, but the highest number seen is 1500 puffins at the sea and only a few come up and fly and certainly not in a quantity, that may constitute a ring. On land, one sees only a few sitting in the grass and in the end of the month not a single herring carrier has been seen.
The first kittiwake pups were observed on 24.th And the next day became more and more to see.
Guillemots seem to be in normal, to above average number and the gannets seem to continue their slow, yet steady growth in number. But maybe some of the growth is relative, as in winter, a large part of the second-westernmost gannet shelf crash into the sea and birds that would otherwise have bred there, might try to breed elsewhere, presumably in the periphery of the other places where gannets breed. Thus having these sites to be bigger without an increase in the total number of gannets. But more detailed censuses has to be done, in order to determine this.
May 2010. In the middle of the month "Grannastævne" was held about the capture of puffins in the summer of 2010. Guided by the recent poor breeding success among the puffins, strict rules were adopted on how the catch would be distributed and quotas were set on how many puffins were allowed to catch. The number is related to the area of land which one own. It was further agreed that all fleygemænd would meet in the morning at the school, to distribute the "fleygesesser" before they go catching.
The kittiwakes came on time and began at the end of the month to build their nests. Looks to be in roughly the same number as the last years.
April 2010. The 27.th, the traditional day for the arrival of puffins, there was little puffins to see and one did not experience any "real" land coming days. Days where the puffins would otherwise accumulate on the sea during the afternoon and then fly up into large rings in the evening and settle down in the grass at their traditional breeding sites.
February 2010. The thirteenth a walrus was seen from Mykines! In a week or so, it was repeatedly observed on some of the skerries below the lighthouse on Mykines Holm. After that, it was seen at several other places in the Faroe Islands. Researchers from Føroya Naturgripasavn succeeded in affixing GPS logging equipment to the animal. After a longer stay in the inner waters of the Faroes, the walrus swam towards Iceland, later changed course towards Svalbard. The last message from the walrus came on April 25, near the west side of Svalbard. See a map of the walrus whereabouts of Føroya Naturgripasavn's web site, click here. There has earlier been observed walruses on the Faroe Islands, the last time sometime in the early 1980s, when one was seen at Argir near Tórshavn.
January 2010. The 25.th half of the people on Mykines at that day, went out on á Rogve, to greet the gannets welcome back. Because that day is the time of return of the gannets, according to tradition. The weather was quite bad, wind from south 24 m/s and gale-force winds of 33 m/s. But there was no rain. And some gannets were seen, elegantly defeating the violent blows and turbulence, which lifted seawater high in the air, as clouds, north of the Holm. Afterwards there was coffee and cakes in the village.
An Ortolan Bunting was observed and also some pictures were taken. It is the 4th time, that Ortolan Bunting has been observed on the Faroe Islands and the first time on Mykines, so far as is known.
See the picture by here clicking.
September 2009. The 1. of September 39 men were on the Holm after the gray gannets in the finest weather and the total catch was 570 gannets. Later that same week, men were on Flatidrangur, where the catch was 90 gannets.
August 2009. Many of the puffins continued to carry sand-eals, which, towards the middle of the month, again had the "normal" size. But no young puffins were seen on their way to the sea and as no one was seen towards the end of the month, it has to be concluded, that the puffins again had a very unsuccessful breeding season, though it in the beginning seemed very promising.
The first young kittiwakes came to their wings in the first week of the month, but there were many, which didn't succeeded. Small groups of youngs gathered on the rocks in Lendingargjogv and seemed to be in good shape.
The guillemots left day by day and the 11.th the great shelf in Myrkhellu was empty. Quite a lot young guillemots seemed to be fully fledged.
Only three young fully fledged arctic terns were seen at unconventional places, with a population which hardly could be called a colony.
July 2009. The first "sildbærere", puffins which brings sand-eals to their young, were seen in the middle of the month, which is two to three weeks later than normal. The kittiwakes seemed to have a very good season and in 7 out of 10 nests there were 2 youngs. Plankton growth was fine, with a steep increase, but then came a sudden fall, instead of the gradual decrease, which is normal. The sharp fall was followed by yet another steep increase. It responded very well with the fact that the kittiwakes had so many eggs. But then there was a remarkable shift. The 21.th virtually all the adult kittiwakes left the breeding grounds and let their youngs alone back. There was a sudden unaccustomed silence. After a few days they came back and in the following weeks, they looked to bring well with food, although not sufficiently, because there was a steady drop of youngs and in many of the nests, where there were two, there was now only one. The quality of the sand-eal brought by the puffins, also seemed to fall because they were clearly smaller for a period.
In the afternoon of the 23.th, not far outside the village, three large whales were seen, who emitted large spouts and swam westward. So far as could be assessed, it was fin whales.
July 2009. The first sand-eal carrying puffins were seen on their way to their youngs in the middle of the month, which is two to three weeks later than normal. The kittiwakes were going on fine and there were two youngs in 7 out of 10 nests. The growth of plankton was fine, with a steep rise, but then with at sudden fall, in stead the more gradually fall, which is the normal. This sudden fall was followed by a new rise. This was in accordance with the fact, that many kittiwakes had laid two eggs. But then at sudden change happened. The 21.th almost all the grown up kittiwakes left and the youngs were left back, unattended. Suddenly there was unusual silent in Lendingar Gjogv. Some days after, the grown up returned and began feeding the youngs again. But this incident was not without costs and many young kittiwakes died. In many of the nests, where two had been, now only one was left. The quality if the sand-eals brought by the puffins, also seemed to fall, smaller in number and smaller in size for some some weeks. But there was not any sign of mass death among the young puffins, as had been seen before and sand-eal carrying puffins were seen in fine numbers.
The 23.th of July, not far out from the village, 3 whales were seen, sending up great blasts of water and damp, as they swam westward. Upon the blasts and the shape of their back and the placement of their back fin, it must have been fins.
June 2009. The 3.th of June, some men in a boat saw a fin whale, close to land just outside Kranagjógv, the gjogv on the Holm, where the crane is placed. They saw a big blast and also the long back of the whale and even its tail above the water, which otherwise quite seldom is seen of the fins.
May 2009. In this month 4 new species for the Faroe Islands were recorded. And two of these were recorded on Mykines.
The 15.th of May a Subalpine Warbler was seen and photographed.
January 2009. The 25.th half of the Mykines inhabitants were at á Rogve, to greet the gannets welcome back. The weather was the most beautiful, sunny and hardly any wind. And some gannets were seen north of á Rogve and the Holm.
The 17.th 9 lapwings were seen close to the SEV house, the power station. The 23.th and the 24.th lapwings were seen again, both times 8. On other islands of the Faroes, lapwings have also been seen this month. This is in accordance with the fact, that in winter, January is the month, were they most often are seen. The 24.th a single fieldfare was seen on the Holm.
The 13.th of November the proposal for street names in Mykines (and Bø plus Gásadal) was approved. In Mykines the names are:
October 2008. The 12.th of October a meeting was held on Mykines concerning the catch of birds. The meeting was held in the school and was summoned because of these last years lacking breeding success of the birds, especially the puffins. The proposal for the changes of the rules was written by some inhabitants of Mykines, with special interest in the catch of birds and contained proposals for revision of the rules and for a tightening of already existing rules. The discussion at the meeting was lively and resulted in a proposal for new rules. This proposal now have to be discussed at a "grannastævne", a formal meeting with the participation of all the owners of land on Mykines in the coming year. It is now too early to say if there will be any change in the existing rules.
September 2008. The night between the 5.th and 6.th, 36 men were on the shelfs on the northern side of the Holm, to catch the young, grey gannets. The weather was very beautiful. Normally 24 men are necessary to do the job. The catch was fine, altogether 540. The general impression was, that there were many gannets this year. But on one of the shelfs, where there normally are 70, there was this year only 2, maybe caused by a slide of stones earlier this summer.
August 2008. During the month, gannets were often seen fishing along the Holm, right outside the village and more Eastwards. The numbers of gannets seem to steady rise, both on the "Bølið" and the other places, where their nests can be seen.
It looks like the birds are a little late this year.
Puffins with sand-eels were still seen at the end of the month. And at the end of the month, the pleasant information arrived, that quite a lot of young, fully fledged puffins, were seen. This is quite late, two to three weeks later than "normally". But this maybe go well with what is known about the growth of plankton this year. First a normal increase in spring, then a decrease and then a rise to above normal values in the middle of the summer. It is known that the time in the nests for the young puffins can vary with a factor of 2, from in the best years 38 to 44 days, to up to 80 days and in extreme cases, 83 days. So all together, the breeding season for the puffins seems to be better than last year. But that year was also extremely bad, with no youngs at all.
The "fleyging", the catch of puffins with a racket alike tool, was also very bad this year. Altogether it is estimated, that only about 5000 were caught compared to around 25.000 few years back. Maybe the low number was caused by the dominant direction of the wind this summer and only few birds, which even didn't flew orderly in the rings, as they use to. But it also looks like the puffins have changed their habits these late years. Maybe that is caused by the changed composition of age among the puffins. Normally the age of the puffins fleyged is one to three or four years, but this age group is almost totally absent now, because in the former three to four years, hardly any puffins have been fully fledged.
The kittiwakes, which normally leave their shelfs in the beginning of the month, were eagerly using their voices even the first three weeks of the month. The 19.th 25 flying young kittiwakes were counted in Lendingargjogv, which could bee interpreted as almost all of the youngs, which were present in the end of July, also managed to be fully fledged.
In Myrkhellu the last two young guillemots were seen jumping to the sea the 14.th and after that, all the shelfs were empty. It is estimated, that the breeding season for the guillemots have been quite fine this year, consistent with the observations on Skuoy.
In contrast to this, the breeding success of the fulmars this year on Mykines has been quite different from the results on Skuoy. It is told from there, that there were quite a lot of young fulmars. On Mykines the number was lower that last year, where it even was very low, compared to former years.
The 6.th 3 big whales were seen South of the village. The great blasts were clearly seen and according to the form and direction of the blast, it could have been sperm whales, as they have their blasthole placed to the left on their head.
The 28.th men were on Flatidrangur to catch the grey gannets. The catch was 50 and 82 were left back, as the old tradition dictates, that youngs with even the slightest amount of down, are left back.
July 2008. The growth of plankton in the beginning of the summer was as normal, but then a decrease appeared. Later an above normal increase appeared, according to the Faroese Fisheries Laboratory's measurements.
In the end of the month several dead young puffins were seen in Lamba and the number of young kittiwakes in Lendingargjogv, where the boat arrives, had fallen from around 150 to around 25 in the end of the month. The fulmars also this year looked as having a bad season with only few youngs in contrast to the former years, where they appeared to be better of, than the other birds. The guillemots were sitting very close the traditional places, especially in Myrkhellu, there were many.
June 2008. In the end of the month, it looked like the kittiwakes were facing a bad breeding season even though there were many kittiwakes the places, where they normally breed, as there was only egg or youngs in every second nest.
May 2008. The 7.th the three "normal" swallows, the swallow, the house-martin and the bank swallow, were seen in the village. Almost every year swallows are seen on Mykines, but it is not every year all of them are seen. The last time this happened for sure was in 1976. The house-martin is most often seen and has attempted to nest several times.
The month was unusual dry with hardly any rain and the birds seem to be a little late building their nests and laying eggs.
April 2008. The puffins arrived around the 27.th of April, as the tradition says. For a few evenings there was a real "landkoma" (coming to the land), where many puffins were flying in rings.
January 2008. The 25.th, the day on which the gannets, according to the tradition, return to Mykines, one third of the inhabitants were out on á Rogve, to greet the gannets back home. The weather was quite fair, some wind and some few gannets were seen towards north. In the beginning of their return, the gannets are very unsteady, in fine weather many can be seen and in bad weather none or only a few can be seen.
Hurricane on Mykines
The 31.th the Faroe Islands were hit by a terrible hurricane with the wind blowing from North Easterly direction. Almost all communications were cancelled, both on land, at sea and in the air and considerable damage happened all over the Faroes. But the distribution of the damage was very uneven over the Islands. The topography of the Faroes is the reason why, as the wind have very different strength and impact on the different localities.
On Mykines the North Easterly wind is the worst of any direction in the village. No one of the inhabitants can remember weather that bad. And the bad weather lasted for unusual long time, almost 16 hours. It began at 9 or 10 am and continued onto the small hours on the 1.th of February. It is so, that even small changes of the direction of the wind have a great impact on the way the wind is blowing. In the beginning, the wind was quite even, but later turning towards North, it brought more strong and irregularly gale-force winds. And probably it was then, the most of the extensive damage happened. As it was highly dangerous to go outside, because of flying parts of buildings and it likewise had become dark, the full extend of the damage was first unveiled the morning of the first of February.
And the damage was extensive.
7 tjall, the houses for drying the meat of the sheep, were damaged.. One was totally destroyed, the roof was torn partially or totally of 4, one was twisted awry, but was still upright, one had lost some of the walls but remained roofed. The old smith and a hen house lost their roofs and two hay houses on the way to the Outfield were seriously damaged. Both lost their roofs and the stonewalls of one of them fell. Some façade sheet was torn of a house and part of the waiting room house of the helicopter was damaged by a flying tjall roof and all the antennas, apart from the GSM mobile phone antenna, were destroyed. And the village lost its lifeline to the surrounding world, the satellite phone went out of service. Several smaller damages occured around in the village caused by flying debris of buildings and empty oil drums !? Unbelievable it is, that a whole roof of one tjall flew above some houses without causing any visible damage on these. Some stone fences fell apart and some gates and doors were destroyed.
All in all a terrible weather, with considerable damage, but no serious damage on any residence house and luckily no person was injured.
If You came here from the page about the weather on Mykines, You can return to that page by clicking here.
The 7.th a Peregrine Falcon was seen from Knukur, where it chased and was chased by three ravens.
As a confirmation of the immediate observations these last years, the Faroese ornithologist Bergur Olsen published a paper on the homepage of "Fiskirannsóknarstovan" (Faroese Fisheries Laboratory) Ritan í minking (The original paper in Faroese with pictures and graphs), The kittiwake in decline (Translation to English on this homepage).
September 2007. The 29.th a wood sandpiper was seen. It was for only the eighth time one was seen on the Faroes and last time one was seen was in the year 1982. Click here to see a picture taken by Esbern í Eyðansstovu.
August 2007. In the beginning of the month there were quite a lot of puffins on land and many on the sea, but it was only for a few days. And since then, it has been as in the wintertime in the puffinlands. No puffin at all.
So already in the middle of the month, the conclusion for the breeding season 2007 can be drawn. It has been a catastrophic breeding season for the seabirds on Mykines, as well as all over the Faroes.
The gannets still seem to go on unaffected, while the fulmars and the black guillemots are the only species of the normally countless sea birds, who have any fully fledged chicks this year at all.
All the other species of seabirds, the puffins, the kittiwakes, the guillemots, the arctic skuas and the arctic terns have not had a single fully fledged chick this year. It is now for the third year in a row, it has been that bad or almost that bad. With maybe the little difference, that the fulmars this year have very few chicks, while they last year had maybe 2/3 of the chicks, they have in normal years.
It seems to be the case all over the Faroes. And the cause is probably shortage of food. Since 1990 the basic food production in the waters around the Faroes have measured. And the amount have not since the beginning of the 1990'ies, been that low. At that time there were lot of death puffin chicks in the puffinlands and the cod fishery was very unsuccessful.
A link in the food chain, which end in the cods, is a little crayfish animal, which is thermophile, which means that they have a very narrow "comfort" temperature gap in which they thrives. Is there just a little increase in the sea temperature, it restricts their growth. In that way fewer individuals in the next link and in the end the cods. And less for the sea birds. The rasing temperature of the sea is maybe a symptom of the global worming, which gradually seems to be well documented, although there still is some debate about the cause, human, naturally or a combination of the both.
As a consequence of this lack of food, only very few puffins were seen flying with sand-eel. Beside this, the puffins behaved very unusual the days they at all were in the vicinity of Mykines. For many days no one to see and were they here, they didn't "flew in rings", their usual behavior. Because of that, the catch by the "fleygemen" was very limited. It is estimated, that the total catch was around 5000 and very uneven distributed among the "fleygemen", as only two men caught about half of the total catch and the rest was distributed among many men. Some few "fleygemen" even didn't used their rights, because of the alarming situation. There even was some talk about preserving the puffins, stopping any catch, in view of the situation this year and the former years. But it seems to be very difficult to come to any agreement of anything like that. The regulation of the catch of puffins are complicated and difficult to change as it, even as they are now, are difficult for some "fleygemen" to follow and respects. The lack of breeding success among the sea birds can on the other hand not be seen as a consequence of the "fleyging" as such, but continued "fleyging" could maybe worsen / reduce the puffins in catching up with the lack of three generations of young puffins.
Read also this press release from a meeting in Tórshavn, which was held under the auspices of "Nordisk Råd", the Nordic Council: Concerns for seabirds in West Nordic Region
July 2007. From the second of July it is allowed to catch puffins (fleyge), but there was hardly any puffins to be seen in the puffinlands and those who were, was not flying in "rings", so the catch was minimal.
The second of July a White Wagtail was seen feeding two chicks close to the stream south of the village.
The seabirds seem to have a very bad breeding season this year.
The puffins were seen very irregular. Some days many were flying and sitting in the puffinlands, but they didn't really flew in rings, maybe because of the dominating Northernly winds. There were no good days for the men fleyging and the catch was minimal. Some days there were hardly any puffins to see, neither on land or on the sea . Other days maybe 15.000 puffins were lying on the sea outside the village and the Holm.
The prospects for the other birds, apart from the gannets, are likewise pessimistic.
The kittiwakes got very few chicks and those seen, disappeared in few days. In the walls of the Landingplace, only 4 chicks were seen. And there are approximately 200 nests there! And the chicks, which were seen, were 2 to 3 weeks later than usually.
There was no sign of chicks among the arctic terns and at the end of the month, no arctic terns were seen in the Outfield.
The guillemots left their shelves already in the middle of the month without any sign of not even one chick.
In the Outfield, usually the home for 30 pairs of arctic skuas, there was no sign of chicks and at the end of the month, only 2 to 3 pairs were seen.
The fulmars, which like the gannets, seemed to manage best later years, are very unsuccessful this year. The fulmars nesting at the Landingplace hadn't any chicks and in Viðarhelli, the "gjogv" west of the Landingplace, normally the home for several pairs of fulmars, only two chicks were seen!
The black guillemots, normally having around 10 nest at the Landingplace, have this year maybe 5.
June 2007. The whole month the wind was almost exclusively from Northern directions. That is often followed by, in a way, fine weather. There has been no rain on Mykines for the whole month and it has been quite cold. At many other places on the Faroes, there is shortage of drinking water. The little stream through the village on Mykines is very little, the grass is only slowly growing and the tuft on the roof of some of the houses is yellow.
For a few days, there have been quite a lot of puffins on land, but most of the days, where puffins have been seen, they have all day been lying on the water outside the village and Holm and have not got to their wings and have not tried to fly in rings. No puffins have been seen carrying sand-eels, which normally can be seen in the end of the month.
The kittiwakes were late laying eggs and only few are actually, at the end of the month, incubating. Many of the kittiwakes, who have build a nest, are now only standing at it.
There is a little colony of arctic terns in the Outfield.
The 30.th 4 Whooper-Swans passed just over the village, heading West.
May 2007. It was often cold and windy weather, even more days with snow. The kittiwakes arrived a little late in Marts and only very few began building their nests in the middle of May, as they use to do. Normally almost all the kittiwakes have laid eggs before the end of the month. But this year, it is not sure, that any have laid eggs at all at the end of the month.
April 2007. In the end of the month a rook was seen on Mykines. Rooks are seen on a regular basis on the Faroes, but they don't breed.
The puffins arrived in the end of the month, as they normally do, but there was no really "landkoma", as the faroese people call the days, where they are seen in huge numbers.
February 2007. The 7.th a Sparrow-Hawk was seen in the middle of a big gathering of starlings. It happened in the infield, just north of the village. The Sparrow-Hawk disappeared in North-Easterly direction along the edge. It is quite seldom to see Sparrow-Hawks on the Faroes, maybe once or a few times a year.
In the middle of the month, almost all the gannets had returned to their nests, something which not always is a peaceful incident. Several gannets were seen carrying material for their nests.
The 21.th a very big gathering of starlings was seen, over 1000 (counted on photos). All the winter bigger and smaller gatherings of starlings have been seen, but one of the inhabitants had never seen such a big a flock as that day. A reason for so many starlings gathering on Mykines can be bad weather on the Faroes, with strong Easterly wind, snow and ice. But on Mykines the Easterly wind is often accompanied with relative fine weather and almost no wind in a big part of the infield. Besides that, there was no snow on Mykines lower than about 300 meters hight.
January 2007. The 25.th almost half of the inhabitants of Mykines were out on Rogve to greet the gannets back home to Mykines, as they, according to the tradition, are returning to Mykines that date. And some gannets were seen north of the island.
A Red Admiral butterfly was seen in the village.
For one whole day an Oldsquaw was seen in the little bay outside the Landing Place.
September 2006. 4th of September 24 men were after the "grey gannets" on the shelfs on the northern side of Mykines Holm. The catch was only 370 young gannets, which is between one half and one third of the best years. But they were not on one of the biggest shelfs, were the catch used to be the greatest. The impression was, as it also was on Flattidrangur, that the young gannets were later than usual, about one week.
August 2006. The breeding season can now only be characterised as a catastrophe.
The bad impression from July can now only be confirmed.
There has not been seen any chicks of either the puffins, the kittiwakes, the guillemots or the arctic skuas. Only about half of the normal number of fulmars. The gannets seem to be going almost as normal, although a little late.
Some days there have been very many puffins. Most of the time they have been lying on the sea outside the Holm and some have been flying, although not in "ring". Men have been "fleygin", but the catch has been very little. One man went home with only one puffin!
The 26.th men were on Flattidrangur to catch the young gannets, the grey ones. The catch was only 24 and 70 young gannets were left back. The impression was, that the young gannets were about one week later than in normal years.
The 30.th of August a Manx Shearwater was caught on the Holm. It was released again after reading its ring. It was ringed the 18.th of July 1980 as a mature bird on the Holm by the Brathay Exploration Group's 1980 expedition to Mykines. (Read more about the Brathay Exploration Group's expeditions to Mykines ).
July 2006. The 27.th two Painted Lady butterflies were seen close to the Memorial and some days later one was seen on Knukur, the highest point of Mykines, 560 meters above sea level.
July turned out to be a catastrophic year for almost all the seabirds.
Though the weather was fine with many days with sun, only a little rain and hardly any wind or waves, the picture was emerging of a breeding season of the most unsuccessful ever recorded or known about. And the same seems to be the case all over the Faroes.
The puffins have been very irregularly in numbers sitting on land. They were seldom flying in "ring" and the total catch by the "fleyge" men have been 6000 to 8000, which is a very low number, when it is known, that there have been caught 80.000 in the best years! There have been no chicks to hear in their holes and many of the men, who have followed the breeding season for many years, have not seen any puffins carrying sand-eel and the "fleyge" men, who have seen the most, have only seen maybe ten, even after many hours "fleygin". So the conclusion has to bee, that not even one single puffin have been able to bring up one puffin chick this year.
The kittiwakes seem to have as bad a season. In Lendingargjogv, the wall of rock facing the quay, where there in normal seasons will be between 100 and 200 kittiwake chicks , there at the end of the month were only 3!.
The guillemots, which were seen in quite a great number on some of their usual shelfs on the 24th of July, disappeared at the end of the month. And neither any chicks could be seen or heard.
The arctic terns have not either any chicks this year. There had been some small groups both in the Haugen and on the Holm. There have not been many eggs and the final result is, that there not have been seen any flying arctic chick this year.
The fulmar, which have had many good seasons the last years, also have a bad season this year, with maybe only one half of the chicks, they normally have. There have only been seen very few mature birds flying in the upstream of air along the coast around Mykines, what they in normal years do in great numbers.
The arctic skuas also have a bad season this year. No chicks have been seen, although the mature birds seem to be in the Haugen in almost the normal numbers. This can bee seen as a natural consequence of no puffins carrying sand-eels.
The only bird which seem to have an normal season, is the gannet. They seem to appear in slowly increasing number from year to year and the number of chicks this season seems to be normal.
Of the birds in the outfields, Haugen, the whimbrel are not seen in the numbers they have been seen in the former years.
June 2006. The unstable and quite cold weather continued. But there were some very fine days, with hardly any wind and clear sky. The anemometer on Mykines Holm recorded 0 m/s, which is very seldom seen.
Some kittiwakes have build their nests, while others are still working on their nests in the middle of the month, which is very late. Some are sitting at places, well fit for a nest, but as it isn't their intention to build any nest at all.
It has been decided not to allow the old traditional way of catching, to "draw puffins", to draw them out of their nest holes. It is a way of catch, which has been performed in centuries though, in later years, only after permission and in small numbers. But permission has not been granted this year, neither on Mykines or other places on the Faroes, because of the general status of the puffin on the Faroes, with more following years, with very poor breading success.
May 2006. The weather was for long periods very bad. Strong winds, in periods from the north, followed by cold weather and snow. Snow was lying at higher altitudes until the end of the month. The communication was irregular, both by sea and by air. Neither the helicopter nor the new boat Brynhild could come to Mykines for several days. Wind from northernly directions are followed by turbulence at the heliport. A class of school children with an intended stay of one night on Mykines, had to be on Mykines for 4 days.
The service with Brynhild started as planned 1. May, though not with maximal speed but with a crossing time of around 40 minutes, which is a substantial reduction from the one hour and fifteen minutes for the old Sulan. Sulan is still in service, making some crossings with freight.
Not very much has been seen to the puffins and the kittiwakes were late starting building their nests. Likewise only few kittiwakes were lying on eggs at the end of the month.
April 2006. The puffins arrived in the end of the month, as they "should", according to the calender. They were not seen in great numbers. And their arrival was more scattered over some days, in contrast to what can be seen, when they are arriving in great number on one single day
It is decided to privatize the ply from Sørvagur to Mykines. This time with a new vessel instead of Sulan. In a test with Brynhild, the name of the new boat, they came to Mykines in only 23 minutes. It is a substantial reduction from the normally one hour and fifteen minutes for Sulan. It will be more comfortable with such a fast going vessel, as it it not rolling in the same way as Sulan. And many passengers will probably not be seasick as with Sulan.
February 2006. Within the first week of the month, many gannets were seen on their shelfs, where they could be heard and seen as in the summer, defending their territories and greeting their mate.
January 2006. The 25.th of January half of the people being on Mykines that day, were out on "Rogve" to bid the Gannets welcome back. The 25.th is the day they, according to tradition, return to Mykines Holmur. It was the most beautiful weather, sunny and hardly any wind and many Gannets were seen.
The second of September men were on the shelfs on the North side of the Holm
and got 550 grey gannets.
The 5.th of September men were on Flattidrangur and got 68 grey gannets.
August 2005. This year has been catastrophic for most of the sea birds.
Only 7 puffins carrying sand-eels have been seen. Most of the people, who have lived or been an Mykines for many years and know the birds, have not seen any at all. Not a single puffin chick has been seen or heard. The great puffin lands have been deserted from the beginning of August, where one usually should have seen thousands of puffins carrying sand-eels and one should have heard the chirp of the chicks.
There have only been seen one single arctic tern chick in the little flock of around 100 arctic terns, which quite unusual stayed on the rock just west of the bridge to Mykines Holm. No breeding terns have been seen on the Holm and maybe some few have tried in the Outfield.
The guillemots had been seen in substantial numbers more times during the summer but they had only very few chicks. On many shelfs, where there usually is many chicks and a lot of chirp from the chicks in the beginning of August, there were no birds at all.
The kittiwakes, who were very late and tried into the end of June to build nests, did not get any chick to their wings. The last kittiwake chick any one knew about, was seen on the Mykines side of Holm Gjogv. It was very late, had only down at a time, where it normally should have had feathers and had started practice in flying. At Saturday the 13th of August it could be noted, that neither that kittiwake chick managed.
The gannets seem normally successful and the fulmars had chicks, which looked all right, though in fewer numbers than usually.
One could see 16 black guillemots at the Landing Place. Especially one pair were the object for great interest, as they had their nest close to the path from the harbour. Often one could see them with a fish in their bill sitting on the roof of the little warehouse and waiting for people to pass by. They must have been the most photographed black guillemots in the Faroes this year.
There were many gulls in the village but their chicks were not fit, some were hardly able to fly and more were found dead.
No arctic skua chicks were seen and there were not many grown ups in the Outfield as they also left early. The great skuas seemed to have chicks as normally.
There were many Scandinavian Rock-Pipits in the village and the Outfield and the normal number of wheatear.
What the reason to all this misery is, is hard to say. But it is a fact, that the spring and early summer were very cold and windy and it is also a fact, that there have been very little growth in the sea this summer and that the amount of fry is at the lowest level since the beginning of the 1990'thies. At that time it was also some very bad years for especially the puffins but also for the Faroese fishery in general.
July 2005. Only little is seen to the puffins and only very few have been "fleyget", caught by nets. There have been seen some dead puffin chick in the puffinland Lamba.
The kittiwakes are not very successful and there have been seen some dead chicks on the nests.
In June there was quite a lot of guillemots, but not as many as usual have laid eggs.
June 2005. The kittiwakes are late but there are many. Maybe around half of them have no eggs. They are just sitting on their empty nests. And even in late June many were still working on their nests which is quite unusual.
The 23. of June crown prince Frederik and crown princess Mary were planned to visit Mykines. The citizens of Mykines had been very busy cleaning and in other ways making the village beautiful and flagpoles were erected.
But the weather was too bad There were quite strong wind from the most disadvantageous direction for the helicopter, which otherwise should have brought them to Mykines. But one could easy have come by boat. Apart from the crown prince couple around 30 journalists and photographers should have come by boat, which would have outnumbered the number of people on Mykines at the time of the visit.
And the day after it was the most beautiful weather with no wind and the sun shining from a clear, blue sky.
Little is seen to the puffins. Some few days they have flown in "ring". But not in very big number. Some days quite a lot have been seen at the sea.
Also this year the arctic terns seems to have a very bad breeding season, if hardly any. This is in accordance with messages from other parts of the Faroes. As something new, and therefore very unusual, around 200 arctic terns have been gathering at the bare rock just vest of the bridge. Normally they gather there in the beginning of August with their chicks. But this year they are there one and half a month too early. And they are not making very much noise as they use to make, when they are there with their chicks trying to frighten visitors to the Holm.
May 2005. The kittiwakes arrived at normal time and began to build their nest. But then it all stopped because of unusual cold and windy weather. It may have delayed them maybe a fortnight. There are otherwise very many kittiwakes this year.
April 2005. The puffins arrived at normal time, but there was no big "landkoma" day.
The gannets seems to thrive. More and more are seen Uti á Bølið.
February 2005. Already the first week of February there were almost as many gannets on the shelfs as can be seen in the summer.
January 2005. The first gannets were seen some days before the 25. of January, their "normal" day of arrival. The 25.th most of the citizens were out at "Rogve" in the finest weather to greet the gannets welcome, as has been the tradition for centuries.
The 3.th the restoration of the Memorial began, after money has been
collected, among others, by the Lions on Vagar. The plan is, that copies
of the marble tablets in the Church are to be made, with updated
information and placed on the Memorial.
The 4.th the first puffin chicks were seen. It is on the other hand, too early to say anything about the numbers.
The 11.th and the 12.th a peacock butterfly was seen in Mykines village. Probably brought there by the this summer predominant easterly winds.
The 28. of August about 40 men were on Mykines Holmur in the most beautiful weather after the grey gannets and got about 500.
Within the first days of the month, the shelves of the guillemots were left and there have probably been very few chicks, because there had hardly been any chicks to hear.
The kittiwakes have a very bad season. The adult birds are still at their nests, but nearly no chicks. There are quite a lot of great skuas this year and they have fed rather intensely on the kittiwake chicks. Besides that, there are no more nests with two kittiwake chicks. The few nests where there have been two chicks, have now only one or none.
In the beginning of August one could see a rather peculiar behavior of the arctic terns, as they behaved as swallows! They flew just above the grass and caught insects as swallows. Whether this is a totally new behavior of the terns is not known. Is it caused by shortage of normal food for the terns? There was only two (at a time?), feeding in this manner. Until now, there have not been seen any arctic tern chicks. At the places, where they normally gather this time of the year, only old arctic terns are seen.
All together crisis seem to be among the birds of Mykines this year.
There have not been seen any chicks of the arctic skua, which this time of the year usually pursue their parents, in the same way, as these pursue puffins, kittiwakes and terns, in order to get something to eat.
But there are reasons to think, that this is not only the case for Mykines!
The newspaper The Independent writes: A giant ecosystem that has functioned for millions of years has begun to break down, in which Great Britain, The Orkneys and The Shetlands are mentioned and states that it has been a disastrous breeding season for the birds of the sea this year. Higher sea temperatures are said to be the cause.
Click here, to read the original article:
July 2004. In the end of the month, the puffins again vanished, as last year. And the "fleygin" came to a halt. There were only very few birds on land but the sand-eel carrying puffins were still seen.
The catching of puffins seems to be average this year. Not the great numbers any day and some days with no wind hardly nothing , because the puffins are then not flying in rings and therefore can't be caught.
The kittiwakes have hard times this year. They seem to be late, there are many empty nests, and there are only very few pairs with two chicks.
There are no breeding arctic terns on the Holm this year and there are none seen in the outfield either. There is a little gathering of arctic terns on the rocky slopes of the Holm, close to the bridge, probably terns that has lost their chicks and there a no chicks among them either.
Again this year the number of the guillemots seems to be increasing the places where they use to be, but even here in the end of July, no chicks can be heard. So it will be interesting to see, if the great numbers of birds will result in a great number of chicks.
June 2004. The minister for the small islands, Jógvan við Keldu. visited Mykines. There was a meeting with the "Bygderað", parish council and among other topics, the plans for a new landing place in Hellis Gjogv east of the now being, was discussed. The plan is to make a road over there, so one could drive directly to the quay. In last winter there was carried out measurements of the hight of the waves. There is rather great depth, so ships greater than Sulan would be able to come alongside the quay and it would be much easier to get large goods on land. But there was no money for such a project this fiscal year.
May 2004. The kittiwakes was late building nests and laying eggs. In a period they were totally absent, though is wasn't bad weather. The reason why is unknown.
April 2004. A few puffins were seen 2 weeks before normal, where they usually arrive 27.th of April. And the usually "landkoma" was before "scheduled", but the laying of eggs seemed to be a little late.
The number of gannets seems to be in a steady but slowly increase and there are more and more on the little peninsula, Uti á Bølið, as there are many on all the other shelves.
January 2004. The gannets, which normally arrives to Mykines 25.th of January, were a little early this year, as the first were seen the 10.th of January.
In the end of the month a heron was seen and on several occasions a curlew was seen on Mykines Holm.
The 9.th men were after the grey gannets. The weather was very fine
and the catch was around 500. 40 men participated in the catch.
On several occasions in the end of the month, a heron was seen.
August 2003. The 26.th men were on Flattidrangur and they got 38 grey gannets. The impression was, as the general impression for this year, that also the gannets were late, with still many chicks with down, which therefore wasn't caught. The normal catch on Flattidrangur is around 48 til 50 grey gannets.
There is something quite strange with the birds this year.
There has not been "fleyget" any puffins in august! It is said, that the situation with the puffins is the same on Island, on the Shetland Islands and in Lofoten in Norway. There are still sand-eel carrying puffins in the middle of the month and there have been seen a number of dead puffin chicks in the lands of the puffins, but there have also been seen full fledged puffin chicks on their way to the sea. It is the impression, that the condition of the chicks is very uneven this year.
Every thing seems to be late this year. The guillemots seems to have an average success of breeding, but as late as the middle of August, there are still chicks on the shelfs although they are quickly leaving. In a normal year the guillemot chicks are said to begin leaving around Olai, the 29. of July.
The kittiwakes neither seems to be too well and quite a lot of dead chicks are seen in the nests. The first flying kittiwake chicks were seen the 10.th of August, which are one to two weeks later than normally. But all in all there is an average of about one chick on every other nest.
The first of August and the following days there were unusual big waves for the summertime and the boat Sulan in these 3 days only managed to make one of the scheduled 6 departures.
July 2003. The catch of puffins, the "fleyging", began quite normally. There was caught 100 to 200 birds on every "fleygemand".
There were some days with very heavy rain, and suddenly everything changed! From around the middle of July the weather was unusual hot. There was registered 26.4 degrees on Vagar Airport. On Mykines there was 22 degrees, even late in the evening.
And the puffins disappeared! There was only very few birds to be seen. That was the old breeding birds, changing duty on the nests, but as time went by, also the sand-eel carrying birds were seen. And they were seen carrying normal amounts of sand-eels and no dead chicks were seen in the lands of the puffins. But the "fleyging" completely stopped! The "fleyge" men returned with only 10 to 12 birds even after a whole day. All possible and impossible places were used, but no one got any birds. In the end everybody gave up, as there was no birds flying in rings.
The kittiwakes were late laying eggs and in a period it seemed to evolve normally, but in the end of the month, from around the 25.th of July, it changed. There were lying dead chicks in the nests and even small living chicks were left unattended in their nest, which is quite unusual for so small chicks, as it was seen. There always used to bee one of the adults on the nest to take care of the chicks. Some chicks were almost ready to go flying, but then every thing seemed to stop evolving and the number of adult kittiwakes seen was unusual small. How it is going to end is hard to predict, but something quite unusual is going on.
Also this year there are no nesting terns on the Holm and there are only 3 small groups in the outfields. It looks like the chicks get plentiful of food as there is quite a lot of traffic above the village of terns carrying small sand-eels, which the puffins miss, when the they are attacked by the arctic skuas above the lands of the puffins.
The guillemot are numerous the usual places, but one do not hear the fine 3 toned calling of their chicks, as it normally should be heard late in July.
June 2003. The 15.th of June an exhausted osprey was found in the northern part of the village. It died shortly after have been found. It should be the 13.th time such a bird has been seen on the Faroes since1850.
Otherwise it seems to be a quite normal June this year. No extreme weather and the birds were busy doing their job keeping the eggs warm.
May 2003. As last year the kittiwakes were late building their nests and laying their eggs and the distribution at the time of laying eggs was greater than in normal years. Maybe the reason was, that the weather was very cold and windy and it also was noted that the puffins were late.
April 2003. A Stonechat was seen on Mykines the15.th of April. Last time such a bird was seen on Mykines was in 1909.
The weather in April was unusual fine, lots of sun and only little rain and the puffins came as expected.
The fine weather with rain long below average, continued into
August and at several places in The Faroes there was not enough of water. But
not on Mykines. The little stream through the village has never been dry,
according to what is known, even after long dry periods. There has always been
enough of water to the villagers consumption.
The catch of puffins ended up in a total catch around the catch last year, though the beginning was a little strange.
The puffins also had an average breeding success. But one didn't see that many puffin chicks, but that is also normal, when the weather is good and clear. The chicks fly straight to the sea, and are not confused of the sound of the stream through the village or of electrical light in the village.
The kittiwakes, who got chicks in July, had good success in bringing them food and a great part were fully-fledged, though the number of laid eggs and fully-fledged chicks was far below normal.
July 2002. All together a very fine summer with rainfall far below normal and many very beautiful days with almost no wind and quite a lot of sun.
It is still not very good for the kittiwakes. There are chicks, but not very many in number. But the few there are looks good and seem to get enough of food.
The puffins vary much in number. There have been days with very many on land, but according to some observers, there are not very many who carry sand-eels, though the sand-eels which are carried looks fine and big.
The catch of puffins seems to be very unsuccessfully this year and according to the "fleyge" men, the puffins behave strange this year. The reason why is unknown, but the same is reported from the other islands where puffins are caught. The total catch has accordingly been quite small.
Again this year blackbirds are carrying food, so they must have chicks, though no one has been seen yet.
June 2002. Winter in the middle of summer! On Sunday the 2. of June it was very bad weather. The night to Monday up to 32 m/s and very big waves. As big as they not even are seen every winter. Almost all the kittiwake nest in the lower parts of the bird mountains were washed away. Plants and grass were scorched of the strong wind and many places it looked like autumn.
May 2002. It is looking quite strange with the kittiwakes this year. They were almost a fortnight late laying eggs and it was far from all pairs who had build their nests who laid eggs. And it is maybe only in half of the nests there now are eggs.
One sees not very much to the puffins after the promising numbers in April with the fine "landkoma" and there are probably fewer than last year.
April 2002. According to tradition the puffins go ashore on Mykines the 27. of April. This year they were one day late! There had been quite a lot of puffins to be seen up to the traditional date, but the weather had been bad in several days. But on the 28. of April puffins in thousands placed their feet on Mykines again, after probably not have been ashore in almost half a year. There were many gathered on the ocean in the afternoon and later on they began flying in their traditional rings and landed in the lands of the puffins in a very beautiful weather.
In august the promising breeding success the birds had shown in July
The kittiwakes got the success they looked to get in July and the puffins also got many chicks.
No chicks of the blackbirds were seen, though they seemed to have chicks in their nest in the village late July.
July 2001 Until now year 2001 looks to be good for the birds.
There are unusual many whimbrels and walking to the outfields one already in the upper parts of the infields meet them.
There are more guillemots than in memory of any man. They are sitting closer to one another than in the former years and at places where they not have been seen before and one now often hear the voices of the chicks.
The puffins also seem to be plentiful. There have been many sitting on the land, although the "fleygin" not have been that successful, among other reasons low winds, so the puffins have not flown in their usually "rings", the best for the catch.
Also in July crossbills have been seen. The 8th of July two were seen in the outfields. And later on a pair has by seen at the landing place.
June Year 2001. There has been seen some crossbills in the village.
August Year 2000.
The breeding season seems to have been very successful
for the birds of Mykines this Year.
Many of the kittiwakes have had 2 chicks and have there been 2 chicks in a nest, both seems to have gone to their wings. There have even been seen 6 nests with 3 chicks at the "Harbour" and in Holm Gjogv. And in all these nest it looks like the kittiwake pair have been successful in raising all three chicks.
There has been a great number of puffins on land and it looks like they have got good and plentiful of sand-eels.
The "Fleygemen" also have had good catches though the weather not always have been good from their point of view.
There have been more guillemots than in the former years and they have had nests places where they not have had nests before. But there have not been that many chicks as expected from the greater number of adults.
The gannets seem to maintain the slowly but steady increase in number they have shown the last years and are beginning to breed places where they not have been breeding before.
The arctic terns have not been breeding on Mykines Holmur this year. But there have been two small colonies in the Outfield.
In general the other birds of the Outfield also seems to be more than average in number and have more than average breeding success.
10. of July 2000. A humpbackwhale was seen from a little boat just south of Mykines.
25. of June 2000. A humpbackwhale was seen north of Mykines Holmur only one to two hundred meters from land.